GPT40 - Glaciar Viedma
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GPT Section Articles
Recent Alerts and Suggestions
- 2023 Helen and craig
Big forest fire around the 3rd bay near iceberg bay. Circuit was closed for a bit. Unsure on how well it's recovering. Have a chat with the rangers before leaving.
- 2023-Jan 8 Alexis, Iris
Same as below, follow the trail when it differs from the trace. Beware that on Day 2, the Paso del Viento can be very windy and you should check the weather forecast before leaving.
- 2022-Dec 16 Frank
Watch video of the hike @ national park office. Bring a harness & learn how to do a Tyrolean traverse before you go. Where the trail differs from the track file it's easier to follow the trail which is generally good & clear. You are required to register online for the trek (link given by Veronica & Zach below) & sign out at the national park office when you are finished.
- 2020-Jan-12/ Oreste Marquis
Verify the wind forecast! The hills are so steep, strong wind could be dangerous! There’s no snow anymore and you will not need crampons.
2019-Nov-6 / Lea Geibel, Kevin Moe Equipment for Zip Line to cross rivers is not required anymore since this season. Most of the season the rivers are possible to cross on foot Paso Viedma had a decent amount of snow on it (Snow Line at 1000m), the ascent is straightforward but the descent on the side facing the ice field can be really iced over and difficult without crampons (ask at Visitor Center of the NP for current conditions)
Season Section Log
- 08-11/04/2023 - 4 days - RR SOBO - Arthur, Rémi, Noé & Louis
Such a wonderful section ! One of our favorite ! Incredible views on the glaciers, with autumn's colors it was amazing ! It is recommended by the guardaparques to have good weather on day 2 and 3 (for the passes), no cloud and no wind for us : perfect. We rented 1 harness for the 2 zip lines (day 2 and 4). 1 harness per group is sufficient but you have to rent a thin rope too in case the one in the pulley is broken. It is really worth it because the feeling is so good ! (We rented at Viento Oeste, north of San Martin street, the cheapest according to a friend). The thin rope is very helpful to suspend all your bags and things in camps. You have to do it because mice are at every camp and the will destroy your bag, your tent or whatever has food inside. This is the only annoying point of this section. About the trail : easy to follow, except when you have to walk on the glacier on day 2, it can be a bit challenging. Take care, do not go if there is fresh snow all over the glacier. The way down the paso Huemul on day 3 is very steep too. Do not forget to register online with the guardaparques (and to check out when you return !).
- 30.03. - 01.04.23 / Anna & Christopher / El Chaltén counter clockwise / 3 days
We did the Huemul Circuit in 3 days. We started around 9 a.m. planning to camp at the Biwak Túnel the first night. The weather turned out to be so nice that we decided to continue and do the Paso del Viento the first day. The trail until the first Tyrolean traverse was really good even though it was partially covered in snow. We crossed the river easily by foot. After that the trail up to the pass gets more demanding and slower. Once you reach the Glaciar Túnel Inferior navigation gets more difficult. There are different paths and we firstly followed one going up and down on the gravel. It's probably easier to take the path on the glacier from the beginning on. We reached the pass at sunset and had an absolutely amazing view. We decided to camp at the end of Laguna Ferrari (to avoid the mice problem at the main campsites). The path to the lake was demanding, because the slope was covered with lot of snow and it was dark. At the campsite there are lots of well protected spots for tents.
The next day we slept pretty long to recover from the previous big day and with better weather than anticipated we walked until km 39.3. There are two really good camping spots, one at the edge of the trees and one inside the small forest. No mice there.
The steep trail down wasn't super easy and must be hard during rain. The second river crossing at km 54 was much more demanding. We crossed it further east of the Tyrolean, where the river divides in multiple branches. There the water went below Annas hips (1,63m). We walked to the viewpoint at km 62.4. Lots of people watched the sunset there with a great view of Fitz Roy and it was easy to get a ride for the last 2 km to El Chaltén.
- 2023-Mar-10-13 / SOBO / RR / Ondrej / El Chaltén anticlockwise/ 4 days
I had the luxury of being able to wait for a good weather window and it really payed out. My hike was easy with magnificent views when climbing up to Paso del Viento. I even had a tranquil lunch at the top. The glacier walk and the snowy peaks are stunning.
However, I believe gpt40 can turn into hell in windy weather or if camping outside the wind-sheltered camps. I met several people in El Chaltén who had to turn back because the wind didn’t let them climb up to the pass. One couple also had their tent teared apart in the middle of the night at Bahía de Hornos. If you can, avoid camping there for the last night. Instead, camp at Bahía de Tempános which offers far better wind protection.
I enjoyed the recommended 4 day length. Each day section took me around 5-6 hours of walking. I believe that especially Day 1 and 2 could be combined into one (El Chaltén - Refugio del Viento) if the weather is favourable.
Mice seem to be present at all of the official camps - best is to hang your food, cooking utensils and hygienne stuff on a tree away from your tent and avoid eating in your tent. I did that and had no problems with the animals, while some of my companions got holes bitten into their tents and other stuff.
I rented harness and carabiniers for the tyrollean traverse at Viento Oeste. The traverse was fun to use and I was happy that I didn’t need to ford the cold rivers. Recommended!
- 6 to 7 of March 2023 / Will / Laguna Toro out and back
This is a tough one, I didn't make it. I waited out a few rainy days in town until the park office told me we had a good two day window.
I spent the first night at Laguna Toro. Be careful of mice there. Quite a bit of rain and snow, but still too warm for the snow to stay on the ground. The next day we (25 or so tourists) set out to attempt the pass.
I crossed the river on foot right by the zip line, the water was below my knees at noon. Painfully cold though. I climbed up until I got a view of the first glacier at which point the wind was too strong for me to trust my footing. I went back to the first camp planning to wait and try again the next day.
Just after setting up the wind tore down a big green tree branch, which crushed and ripped my tent. Thankfully I wasn't inside. Walked back to El Chaltén in defeat.
I guess that's the end of my GPT hike. It's been amazing, other than the miserable weather down here in the south!
- 21 to 24 of February 2023 / Véronica & Zach / GPT40 RR counter clockwise / 4 days
Route: Centro de Visitantes - Laguna Toro - Paso del Viento - Paso Huemul - Bahía de los Témpanos - Centro de Visitantes
We hiked the Huemul Circuit in 4 days as recommended by the Park officials. You could do it in less, but it is so beautiful and it was nice not to rush and to take it all in. The park staff also informed us of the expected weather conditions. You only really need favourable weather on the 2d and 3d day, going over the two passes. It was extremely windy when we went, knocking me off my feet at times.
I enjoyed having my microspikes for the crossing of Glaciar Túnel, allowing me to explore a bit further up on the ice, but they are not necessary. From the top of Paso Del Viento, the view of the Southern Patagonian Icefield is awe-inspiring, but there are no good sheltered spots at or near the top to pause and admire the view for very long before the descent.
The Paso del Viento Camp (second night) is the most exposed of the camps, the tent sites are semi-protected by low rock walls, and some are better than others. The trail is easy to follow and is well-marked.
We rented harnesses and cord for the Tyrolean traverses from the gear shop Viento Oeste, at 1,400 pesos per person per day. The cord was 250 extra pesos per day. It was fairly straightforward to figure out how the cable crossings worked. The first crossing of Río Túnel on day 2 seemed fordable, but not the second one on day 4. That Tyrolean traverse also did not have a rope to pull the pulley back, so we were glad to have one.
This is the link to register for the trek online: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfP8lEz5ry97gEK6fzx2mlu1NAhPwBx8cRlnSZOH8mx8iUMHA/viewform
- 2023 4th-7th of Jan 2023 Helen and Craig (plus 8 trail friends!) Gabby, James, Hannah, Jess, Julia, Jacob, Caro and Ali.
>Trail was very easy to find.
>Wind guru was for us completely unreliable. Very strong winds to the point of blowing us off path for minutes at a time whilst predictions were minimal forecast. Heed advice from rangers.
>First river crossing was impassable. Worth bringing harnesses for zipline (worth it for the fun) The far far end of el chalten there's a shop called vende oste where we found good rates of hiring harnesses.
>If it's windy on the 3rd day pitch up in the iceberg bay bivi site rather than the second site. We stopped earlier than the rest of the gang due to being a bit tired. We had very peaceful night in strong winds where friends at the next site a hellish night. Iceberg bay was also my number one campsite of all GPT40-30! Watching icebergs flip to the sunset after a long dusty day of slipping sliding and being gusted off the path by winds on the mornings pass. This place is a true refuge for the soul.
>Ferry not running so not many options to hitchhike back to chalten for last part of last day. The liberal use of gaiters on trainers also recommend. Lots of spiky grass seeds and burrs on last days
> Very much worth the wait for a weather window. Incredibly diverse veiws. The glacier walk was a one of kind! Veiws of the ice field kinder the feeling of being about a small at a ant.
- 2022 Dec 15 Frank 3 days RR anticlockwise
The river above Laguna Toro was waist deep & v fast, it nearly knocked me over. Not recommended to cross in the afternoon. In the early morning it may be only knee deep. Bring the harness anyway & learn how to use it, you may need it. On the glacier stay near the edge, people tend to go too far out. At the far side you should see footprints & cairns leading to the moraine. Camped @ small high camp just after exiting the moraine (Vivac Tunel) There are a few stone corrals there. Lined the tent with rocks - pegs alone will pop. Good & sheltered camping @ Laguna Toro & after Paso del Viento @ Refuge but I went from high camp over Paso's Viento & Huemul in 1 long day. Only a little snow @ Paso del Viento & easy to cross. Very windy on Paso Huemul in the afternoon. Steep & loose descent, slow going but I saw 2 huemul. Amazing views of the Icecap between the two passes. Campsite @ Iceberg Bay one of the best on GPT. You can watch the bergs that calve off the icefield breaking up. At lower Rio Tunel we forded 300M downstream from the cable where the river is braided into channels. OK to cross @ noon, knee deep & fast but you need to pick a good spot. Definitely not fordable @ the cable where it runs deep in a single channel. Challenging hike but incredible views of the Icecap.
2020 Feb 2 - Tom and Maddie - 2 days
GPT 40 section log.
2 days anticlockwise. Trail is easy to follow. Talk to the rangers and they can let you know about any issues. Would be tough in bad weather but in clear weather there are no issues. For the glacier walk we were told to enter the glacier just after the beginning and to exit just after the end. I suspect due to the increased popularity a new route has been made in sections so follow the trail markers which divert from the GPX route.
We hired harnesses in El Chalten for the river crossings. We crossed the first on foot in the morning and had no issues. The second one we crossed using the equipment for the novelty but the river looked fine to cross further down. However I can see the river being hard to cross in high levels of rain.
This was a very beautiful section and very different to the northern sections.
2020 Jan 12 - Oreste Marquis - 4 days Did the trek counterclockwise wich is the only way to do it rangers say. You need to register to do this trek and guardaparques vive great advises. I crossed the rivers by foot and they were pretty hard, I recommand using the zipline. Awesome views with good weather, but the wind is really annoying! The campgrounds rangers told me to camp weren’t the ones on the trackfiles, but are pretty close to them so they are not hard to find. Great experience !!
2019 Dec - Matthieu - 3 days We did it in December with good weather, in 3 days ( instead of the 4 recommended, 2 first days in one big day). Awesome trekk and views. It is better to register first at the guardaparques office. Trekk easy to follow excepted on the walk on the glaciar before the paso del viento (a little one, not the Viedma). During this walk, I would not advise to try to walk by the wall of mud and rocks at the left of the glaciar, it is a steepy way and everything slips, we tried it and went on the ice after. The little walk on the ice just near didn´t feel unsafe to me, with the little rocks it doesn't really slip. Good camping sites, well protected from the weather conditions. The last downhill after the paso de Huemul is the most dangerous part, very steepy but with trees to hang for help. I would advise to do this part with good weather conditions, with mud it could be dangerous. For the rivercrossings (2 real ones) there is one way walking and one way with tyrolean on a zip Line. We did it with with the tyrolean, and it was extremly funny. Rental of material possible in El chalten. Of course you have to know how to insure yourself good, so inform yourself before going, it is not hard to understand though, but extremely dangerous if not done well. None of us had experience with it before.
2019-Dec-18 / Arnaud et Adriane / After we have taken the information at the national parc office, we only had 2 days of correct weather. So we decided not to walk the entire section but to go only to the paso del viento to get the view on the campo de hielo (glaciar viedma), following the advises of the guardaparques. I think it is the highlight of the section but not sure since I have never walked it entirely. On the first day we also took the time to walk to the summit of the cerro loma del pliegue tumbado (1500m of height). It offers an amazing view on the fitz roy and on the cerro torre, the 2 rockstars of El Chalten. On the second day we went to el Paso del Viento. The view there on the campo de hielo is absolutely fascinating. The hike is very tough but is absolutely worth the effort. You walk on a glaciar during 2kms but no equipment or particular skill is needed. It was very very very windy (and happily it was a quiet day I do not imagine on other day). Day 1 : El Chalten-cerro loma del pliegue tumbado-laguna torro : 27km with big elevation gain (around 1700m) Day 2 : laguna toro - paso del viento - laguna toro : 18km. Day 3 : back to El Chalten : 17km.
I definitely recomand to follow the guardaparques advises and pay a huge attention to the weather. On this section with a bad weather and a strong wind I think it is dangerous to try to walk it entirely. And if it is cloudy, you will miss amazing views.
The riverford after the laguna toro was easy on the way to the paso del viento (on the morning) but very dangerous on the way back (on the afternoon with all the gletchers melting I think). The worst we've done yet. If you intend to get back after the paso del viento I advise to get equipment to be able to use the zip line that has been settled by the guardaparques. It us much more secured than crossing the river on the afternoon.
- 2019-Nov-4 / Lea Geibel, Kevin Moe / 4 days / counter-clockwise / regular hiking route
Beautiful hike in good weather! Great views of the ice sheet and mountains from Paso Del Viento. Highly recommend waiting for clear weather so you don't miss the scenery! We went up right after a big storm. The trail was a bit muddy up to the Laguna Torro, and the lee of the pass had a decent amount of snow. The windward side was pretty icy and more difficult than the snow. The next day we took a detour and cut cross country to walk on the Campo De Hielo Sur. Our route took a bit of steep scrambling to get down to it and back up around Paso De Huemul, and there were lots of open crevasses on the ice, so it would be good to have some experience and navigation skills if you want to do the same. Dropping down Paso Huemul on the trail was steep and a knee killer, and from Lago Viedma we had a hard time staying on the right trail amidst all the cow path, but aside from a few spiky bushes it's easy to cut cross country. Unnecessary to use the zip lines this year to cross the rivers. You have to camp only in the designated campsites.
|GPT40: Glaciar Viedma||Hiking||Packrafting|
|Group||I: Campo de Hielo Sur 1||Total||65.0 km||22 h||-||-|
|Region||Argentina: Rio Negro||Trails (TL)||43.8 km||67.4%||-||-|
|Start||El Chalten||Minor Roads (MR)||1.5 km||2.3%||-||-|
|Finish||Lago Viedma (Bahia Tunel)||Primary Roads (PR)||3.4 km||5.2%||-||-|
|Status||Published & Verified||Cross-Country (CC)||16.3 km||25.0%||-||-|
|Traversable||Jan - Mar (Maybe: Dec, Apr)||Bush-Bashing (BB)||-||-||-||-|
|Packraft||Only Burden||Ferry (FY)||-||-||-||-|
|Connects to||GPT39, GPT41||Investigation (I)||-||-||-||-|
|Hiking||Packrafting||Total on Water||-||-|
|Attraction||5 (of 5)||-||River (RI)||-||-|
|Difficulty||5 (of 5)||-||Lake (LK)||-||-|
|Direction||Both ↓↑||-||Fjord (FJ)||-||-|
|Character||Alpine Terrain, Glaciers|
|Challenges||Demanding River Fords, Exposure to Elements, Clambering, Demanding Navigation, Possibly Impassable|
Satellite Image Map
Elevation Profile of Regular Hiking Route
Section Planning Status
Recommended Travel Period
Benefits of Hiking and Packrafting
Recommended Travel Direction
Section Length and Travel Duration
Suitable Section Combinations
There are a few places to buy & rent equipment in El Chalten including two shops that rent harnesses.
Services: ATM and Money Exchange
Accommodation: Hostals and Hotels
Transport: Ground Transport
Transport: Shipping Services
Resupply on the Trail
Location, Names, Available Items and Services
Access to Route and Return
Access to Start
Return from Finish
2023: There is a bus every evening at 8PM from El Chalten to Los Antiguos, arriving at about 7AM. The bus continues to Esquel, El Bolson & Bariloche. From Los Antiguos you can go by local taxi or hitch to the border & Chile Chico (there is no longer a bus across the border) There is also a bus once a day from Los Antiguos to El Chalten.
Permits, Entry Fees and Right-of-Way Issues
Regular Hiking Route
- Route description by Kara Davis after Season 2017/18:
Notes to consider before beginning: GPT40 is more popularly known as the Huemul Circuit, a 57-kilometer trek in El Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. Before embarking, the national park guard requires that every hiker obtain a permit, bring required safety gear, and watch a slideshow about the circuit. The safety gear consists of a harness, 2 carabiners (one steel and one aluminum), slings, and 35 m of rope. Most of this gear can be rented at any outfitter in town, but due to liability reasons, the outfitters won’t rent rope. We went to the local ferretería to purchase this. All of this gear is used for two river crossings on zip lines.
We were told that the rangers required hikers to bring their safety gear to the station before a permit would be issued. I would recommend that anyone who wants to do this circuit go to the rangers station the day before to watch the video and get any other necessary information about weather, conditions, etc. Since rentals can get expensive, renting the same day you leave and then going to the rangers station to show them your safety gear and get a permit seems to be the best course of action. The guard station is located on the south side of the Río Fitz Roy just across the bridge.
Most people hike the circuit clockwise (as the slideshow recommends). The trail begins just behind the rangers station and ascends up gentle grassy hills. It is fairly flat and well maintained. After passing Laguna Túnel o Tore, the trail deviates from the GPS route and loops to the first crossing of the Río Túnel on a zip line. During low water, it is possible to cross this river on foot by following the GPS track. After crossing the river, the trail climbs steeply to just above Glaciar Río Túnel Inferior. Along the south side of the glacier, the trail becomes hard to follow as it disappears in loose moraine. Walking on the edge of the glacier may be easier than trying to pick your way across the steep slope but be careful doing this.
After passing the glacier, follow maintained switchbacks up the side of the mountain towards Paso del Viento, the high point of the circuit. For the next 20 km, expect amazing views of Glacier Viedma. I cannot speak to the quality of the trail descending from the pass because of the blanketing snowpack that was present during our trek, but the sections where the snow did melt looked maintained. There is a small refugio, Refugio Paso del Viento located at a pond about 3.5 km from Paso Viento.
After passing the refugio, the trail contours and then climbs to Paso Huemul. Make sure to look back and enjoy the last view of Glacier Viedma. The descent is very steep and at one point there is even a rope to downclimb. There are also plenty of woody bushes (manzanita?) to cling to as you lower yourself down the trail. After completing the descent, the trail is straightforward and easygoing. There is camping on the beach at the peninsula, Camping Bahía de Hornos. There is one more river crossing with a zip line at the lower Río Túnel, and from there it is easy walking to the end!